Needle phobia device bags design award

Wednesday, 20 October, 2021

Needle phobia device bags design award

NeedleCalm, an Australian medical device aimed at reducing pain and fear around needle procedures, has received a Good Design Award in the Product Design category at the 2021 Good Design Awards Week.

The Good Design Awards honour design and innovation in the country and reward projects across 12 design disciplines and 30 subcategories.

Melbourne-headquartered NeedleCalm launched the device earlier this year with an aim to assist with the reduction of needle-associated pain with injection, immunisation, venepuncture and catheterisation procedures often associated with vaccinations, blood donations and tests, and cancer treatment. This includes helping treat trypanophobia — the fear of needles — as defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders[i] in the Blood Injury and Injections (BII) category.

The device uses gate control theory to block the pain associated with needle procedures. The sensation produced by the device stimulates the skin near the injection site and blocks the flow of pain signals to the brain by the activation of gate control theory.

The Good Design Awards Jury said, “Given about 1 in 10 people are afraid of needles, this is a positive approach to overcoming a common problem. The discreet aesthetics of the device and its similarity to a sticky plaster may assist in uptake and the technique of activating alternate pain receptor pathways is clever too.”

Lauren Barber, CEO and Founder of NeedleCalm, said, “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to help Australia close the gate on COVID-19, particularly with the prospect of helping vaccinating children in a safer, faster and less stressful way for kids, parents and medical practitioners alike.

“However, COVID-19 is just one minor part of the potential to improve healthcare take-up and efficiency long-term, with NeedleCalm able to be used in an estimated 60% — or 76 million — needle procedures in Australia each year.”

Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, said, “Receiving an Australian Good Design Award is testament to embedding design excellence at the heart of a product, service, place or experience. Although 2021 continues to be another challenging year, it is incredibly inspiring to see designers and businesses working together to find innovative, customer-centric design solutions to local and global challenges and to see them recognised and rewarded for their efforts through these prestigious awards.”

The importance of embracing good design principles is now more important than ever as many businesses around the world have had to completely rethink their business strategies to remain competitive, Dr Gien said.

It is a Class 1 medical device approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and was developed in part with support from the NSW Government’s Minimum Viable Product Grant program and the federal government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative (MTPConnect)[ii].

[i] Hamilton, JG (1995): Needle phobia – a neglected diagnosis J Fam Pract. 1995 Aug;41(2):169-75.

[ii] Australian Government, Department of Industry, Sciences, Energy and Resources (2020): Industry Growth Centres,, 10 December 2020

Image caption: Lauren Barber, CEO and Founder, NeedleCalm.

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